Summer Flings with Female Directed Flicks

vor 4 years

Gone are the days which men write our rom-coms, and deem them relevant to our love lives and prepubescent problems.

The world of cinema outside of indie theatres has typically been dominated by men, yet in the last couple years, there has finally been an uptick of well-funded female directors and screenwriters realising their creations and sweeping international stages of awards and recognition.

Now that open air cinemas are opening again here in Berlin, we decided to show what we would definitely spread out our picnic blankets for, and for those of us who simply cannot stand a strangers munching of popcorn, we also included a couple films that are available for streaming within the comfort of your own bed, no clothing necessary.


ELIZA HITTMAN: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

New York filmmakers are magic. There, I said it. Hittmann tells the story of two teenagers sneaking off from Pennsylvania to get an abortion in New York City. Heartbreaking, poignant, gritty: this coming-of-age tale has a lot more to unpack than the coming-of-age films I grew up on, which only glazed over the embarrassment of braces, the glory of menstruation, or whether or not their crush is dating a college girl. The advantages of being a young woman in today’s society also comes with much greater responsibilities and issues of life-altering importance. This movie puts this into perspective and poses some difficult questions for women and those that care about them.

CELINE SCIAMMA: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

If you are looking for an atmospheric, dreamy, highly romantic, sapphicly powered film with no soundtrack, but a whole lot of tension, paint smears, beautiful oceanic scenery, and one coven-powered bonfire scene, look no further. Admittedly, this took me more than one sitting, but there is a reason I came back to it. It won Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. Cuddle up to this alongside a friend you’ve been wanting to touch toes with, especially if a summer thunderstorm is in the forecast. 


While this horror-musical is now a few years old, it only recently came onto our radar, and we have seen it a multitude of times. We think it is the perfect summer movie: foamy man-eating mermaids named Gold and Silver, glossy ABBA-inspired nightclub outfits, and a number of dizzying scenes of love, sex, violence, Polish drunkenness, and kitsch. Throw on a face mask with girlfriends and a bottle of prosecco, or watch it with the man in your life who may need a reminder of just how sharp your teeth are… 

MATI DIOP: Atlantics (2019)

Senegalese-French filmmaker Diop has created a beautiful film with Atlantics, making her the first black female director in contention for the Cannes Film Festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or. It also won the Grand Prix. With a soundtrack by Fatima Al Qadiri, this film is hypnotic with a super natural tinge and a nod to magical-realism. It is mesmerizing. The local casting of residents of Senegal, the hues of blue heat and ocean, a palpable melancholy and romance orchestrated throughout- it is easy to drown in this beauty of a film. 

MELINA MATSOUKAS: Queen and Slim (2019)

Penned a “romantic road crime drama,” this film starts with a Tinder date that quickly unravels into messy societal and political commentary, with the duo on the run from the cops. (You will definitely not be rooting for the cops.) Once their identity is plastered throughout social media and circulated through small town gas stations, a transformation must occur: from their clothing to their cars, and a crazy good soundtrack to boot: it all morphs into a sensory feast, simultaneously beautiful and troubling. There’s a reason this got so much publicity, and if you’ve been looking for further reason to watch it, allow us to be your final push. 

Text: Janna Shaw

Images courtesy of Criterion Collection Channel and Rotten Tomatoes 

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